Mark Ash, Head of Print, Samsung UK & Ireland, describes 2014 as ‘by far and away the best year’ Samsung’s print business has ever had.
“Our hardware business grew 37% last year and we delivered our best performance in our 24-year history. When you delve below the surface, the A3 growth was phenomenal.
Overall, we quadrupled our A3 business (up 387%). We were the fastest growing vendor and the only vendor that showed quarter-on-quarter growth throughout the year.
That’s really exciting for us,” he said.
Ash attributes Samsung’s success to a number of factors including:
- the recruitment of more copier dealers – the number of Samsung trading accounts in the office automation (OA) channel has gone up from 26 to 87;
- the introduction of innovative new products, notably the MX4 (A4) and MX7 (A3) MFPs featuring a new Android interface; and
Samsung’s expertise in other business areas, such as mobility and displays, which is helping to broaden its appeal, especially amongst enterprise customers.
“The growth we have experienced in the Samsung B2B and Samsung Business Enterprise Teams has been phenomenal, and it is largely driven by the prowess we have shown in our consumer business,” he said. “We now find ourselves around the board table with C-suite executives, typically CIOs, who already use Samsung technology in their personal lives, talking about how print is integrated in their business… I’ve yet to find a CIO who says ‘Mark, I’ve got a burning desire to talk to you about print’. But they will talk to you about mobility.”
Samsung’s early integration of NFC into its print devices is a good example of how it uses technology to position print in the context of broader strategic discussions, such as enterprise mobility.
“The MX7 has got NFC and Bluetooth LTE – a low energy variant of Bluetooth – which has implications for how you authenticate yourself at a device, configure the device personally to your requirements and also release jobs. NFC is definitely part of the mobility strategy of many businesses,” Ash explained.
Although Samsung has won the Buyers Lab Inc. Monochrome Printer/MFP Line of the Year Award for two years in a row, in the past its printer hardware offering has not been broad enough to meet the needs of enterprise customers. With the launch of the MX7 that is no longer the case, claims Ash.
“We manufacture some great products, but there are certain types of vertical market that take on higher end products – professional services, legal services – and to date we have not had a product that catered for every single requirement,” he said.
“The MX7 takes us into 93% of the addressable market and it gives us a powerful proposition to really compete in those markets. The differentiators, the very mundane things, mean a lot, like 300gsm paper handling, SRA3, 200gsm duplex capacity, a 240 images per minute scanner. We are putting a hell of a lot of productivity into the hands of the workforce now.”
In this context, the introduction of the Android platform on the MX4 and MX7, the opening of an app store for the Smart UX platform and the launch of a software development kit that will enable third parties to develop their own apps are significant.
“We have High Street retailers who are developing apps that enable them to use the display on the device as a kiosk, so someone can walk in, access the retailer’s website and pull off content. We are also working with some well known DIY chains in the UK and it’s incredibly exciting looking at what they plan to do with it,” explained Ash.